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The purpose of this assessment is to provide students with the opportunity to engage in reflective practice, using a range of diagnostic tools and feedback, so as to identify two key areas of personal capability that can be addressed (improved) so an to increase their communication effectiveness.

1. Diagnosis and Reflection

a) Using a minimum of 5 diagnostic tools related to communication, such as the Johari Window, Communications Style Questionnaire, Assertiveness Questionnaires etc., you are to analyse your own communication style across various areas such as verbal communication, active listening, non- verbal, assertiveness perception etc. see Weeks 1 and 2 in The Schedule and also you can base this on your reflection from the first assessment of your oral and written presentation.

b) You are to present the findings of the tools and identify 2 of your key communication issues that you have identified as requiring development.

c) Reflect on two recent professional interactions that you have had within the past 12 months. Analyse these interactions from the perspective of the two key communication issues that are identified as requiring development.To what extent are these evident and support the need for personal communication development?

Johari Window

A simple definition of communication refers to the process whereby information either verbal or non-verbal is transferred from one party to another. In communication where by information is transferred using presentations that are not linguistic, then this communication is non-verbal. Some of the non-linguistic ways in which information can be transferred include; use of gestures, eye contact, dressing code and body language. In his study, Aebersold (2013) stated that Non-verbal communication involves expressions which may be either voluntary or involuntary. A good example of a voluntary expression is nodding. An individual may also present an involuntary action to portray communication without speaking for example through sweating. In some instances, non-verbal elements of communication may apply in speech and also writing. One of these elements in writing is the handwriting which differs from one person to another. Where speech incorporates elements that are not verbal, paralanguage such as intonation would apply. Some of the cues in non-verbal communication may be used in interpretation of messages that are transferred verbally. As reported by Beris (2015), there might be a problem in conveying of messages in cases where the non-verbal element and verbal elements of an individual contradict.

The major types of verbal communication are spoken messages and in some cases messages that are written. In human beings, verbal communication is shown in a language that is systematic, symbolic and grammatical. Language used by human beings comprises of sounds where by properly defined and arranged words are conveyed. A model proposed by Charles and Richards which takes the   triangular form, summarizes the symbolic nature of human language.

In this model, symbolic language occurs in stages where by at first words are related, the thing being referred to in the message is called the referent and the specific thought accompanying the message is the actual meaning of the message. Buchnana (2015) also alludes that there are various communication diagnostic tools. Some of these tools are; the Johari window, Assertiveness Questionnaires, Communication style Questionnaires.

Two psychologists, Joseph Luff and Harrington developed the Johari window.  This tool enables individuals to have a clear understanding of their interpersonal relationship and also social relationship. There are four provisions in the house of Johari window. The first provisions stands for whom we see ourselves as, and how others view us. The second room stands for certain attributes that people can see in us though we do not realize them ourselves. There are certain personal aspects that we keep secret. This is a provision in the third room of Johari window. There are other aspects about us that we do not understand and also those around us do not understand. In his study, Burleson (2014) reported that this is in the fourth room of Johari window. There are two principles that apply in this diagnostic tool of communication. People who are very close to each can relate more frequently than those who are not in close relationship. The close relationship promotes openness among these people. Secondly, the skills of communication are developed through feedback that is received. Schmid (2015) asserts that the feedback from various experts plays a key role in improving the communication skills of an individual. There is a benefit on business organizations that use this diagnostic tool of communication. This tool allows for formal interactions and informal interactions. Business owners can therefore create an understanding with the customers in a better way.  Feedback is very important since we are able to know how other people view us and also the people get to understand how we perceive their conduct. 

Communication Style Questionnaires

Another diagnostic tool of communication is communication style questionnaire. According to Watson (2015) the purpose of this technique is to enable individuals in discovering the communication styles that best fit them. This technique is important in motivating people who have different capabilities. It also enables one to learn about the skills used by other people and one can take advantage of strengths of various individuals’ communication skills. According to De Castro (2016), one can establish a plan to realize his/her potential communication skills through application of this technique. Some of the styles of communication are applied in companies especially those dealing with blue chip to build a culture of communication. Through communication questionnaires, there is a proper interaction between people. 

The importance of emphasizing assertiveness among students in the school is because they are able to overcome pressure from peer and also identify the opportunity available in education. Through assertiveness, the students are able to air their grievances and opinions boldly. The importance of applying assertive has been proved through research and it is a necessity for young people especially those in their adolescent stage.  Eijzenga (2014) points out that this is because adolescents who are assertive maintain proper behavior and keep off from morally destructive habits. They can therefore succeed in various aspects such as their social life and academics. 

In determining the level of knowledge among students, these questionnaires help in bringing up to two assertiveness aspects that are crucial. These aspects are; the expression of individual stand and honoring other peoples needs though difficult to do so. According to Farin (2014), assertive questionnaires are important to all people since they build up a high esteem and confidence in themselves. People who are assertive can make their own decisions rather than depending on other people’s choices. Assertiveness basically makes one to be more determined and focus, which results to success in various aspects of life.

In role playing, individuals take different roles in a scenario which is aimed at preparing people for catastrophe. In other cases such as where there is need for improvement of communication between members in a group and changing the peoples’ perspective about a certain situation, role paly activities can be applied. There are various stages in role paying. At first, the situation of interest is identified. Extra information is added to the current situation. Different roles are divided among the team members. The scenario is acted.  There is a discussion that is then held by team members on what has been learnt from the scenario. However there is a tendency of people taking part in a role play activity to be nervous. Greenaway (2015) asserts that this might lower the self-confidence since these people focus on their weaknesses and they fear being criticized by the audience or colleagues.  The solution to this problem is assigning at least two actors a single script to rehearse. After they have completely mastered the script, the director can then allow them to present before the other team members.

Assertiveness Questionnaires

Another method that could be used to build confidence among members who are nervous is by giving them an opportunity to coach. By temporarily being the coach, they gain confidence in themselves. Huelsman (2014) asserted that through Role play, individuals may learn about the properties of communication that is awkward. Role play can be applied by entrepreneurs to get ready for conversations with customers who might be sometimes difficult to handle.

Through practice, people can acquire skills in communication through laid strategies. Some of the strategies may be manual while others may be automatic. According to Livingstone (2015), practice as a diagnostic tool of communication is meant to achieve communication skills through training. These skills may also be achieved through supervision of an individual by a senior.  

Research shows that johari window as a diagnostic tool of communication can be applied where communication is either verbal or non-verbal.  In his study, Kim (2015) denotes that the reason for this diversity is because johari window does not discriminate or anyone in any way and it also encourages listening that is active. The johari window gives feedback the can be used by persons to understand their weaknesses in communication. Through the weaknesses, the individuals may have an opportunity to improve on their communication skills. They also go ahead to improve their strengths.  

Application of Communication style questionnaires instills self-confidence in and persons are able to express themselves boldly. Through this diagnostic tool, individuals are able to realize their potential using various skills of communication. People can therefore give their opinions even in presence of many people.  In a systematic review, Li and Mao (2015) point out that communication can only be successful when people are patient and tolerant with their friends.

Through assertive questionnaires, individuals can achieve the set goals since they maintain their focus. They are determined to achieve what they have set. This aggressiveness is brought about by high self-esteem and also self-confidence by the individual who chooses to follow his thoughts in decision making rather than depending on the decision made by other people. Application of role play activities enables individuals to acquire skills in both verbal and non-verbal communication. According to Roter (2014), the activity also instills self-confidence among participants. It also gives individuals an experience to handle different situations and especially those that are difficult.

Practice instills communication skills that are improved. It also plays an important role in the development of high self-esteem and also makes individuals to be more assertive in decisions they make. Riley (2015) asserts that through continued practice, one is able to learn from the response received from other people. 

Some of the diagnostic tools need some development.(Ojala 2015) reported that, to achieve these, issues related to communication require development in that the role play activities should observe principles from experts and practice should be changed due to the corresponding changes in the in trends in communication in the modern society.

I was once a student leader in my school. Therefore I had to give speeches to my fellow students.  To understand the needs of the students, I had to attentively listen to them. Through these interactions with the students, I improved the skills of communication that had been a weakness to me. I was also able to realize my potential as a public speaker. This made me improve further the strengths I possess as a speaker. Throughout my term as a student leader, I observed three main principles in handling my fellow students. First was by being tolerant with them, understanding them and being patient with them. Through role playing in my leadership, I laid my foundation in my future career.   

Role play Activity

There are several concepts in communication like emphasis, listening that is active, questions and ability to relate. The reliability of an individual is measured by how he/she interacts with others at a level that is personal. (Omura 2016) denotes that a person who is relatable is one who interacts with his colleagues well and also cares for their welfare. By engaging in activities such as charity work and other activities besides work to promote bonding between an employer and his workers. For organizations to be successful, colleagues need to understand each other well. The concept of emphasis incorporates various skills of communication. Emphasis applies in communications that are both verbal and non-verbal. Reisner (2015) eludes that emphasis plays an important role in building the confidence of an individual and also proper understanding. Through focus, the audience is able to think beyond what is normal or what can be seen in a certain scenario. Individuals who are active listeners participate more in listening than talking. Through active listening, individuals gain a better understanding of the matter being addressed. Normally, the strategies formulated to improve communication skills among employees must ensure that all workers are treated equally regardless of their differences.

Through role playing, communication that is effective can be achieved. This is made possible through conversations that may be face-to-face all conducted indirectly.  Through these two ways, individuals are able to understand and analyze each other’s attitude during a conversation. This attitude can be expressed through paralanguage such as intonation. Mathew (2016) asserts that Role playing demands that everything acted by individuals be scenarios that are imaginary. Through role play, individuals build on their confidence. Role playing has two aspects which are practical though theoretically applied.  According to Sim (2016) through acting, any kind of nervousness and fear to face the audience is eliminated. Role playing equips people with skills of communication that they can apply even in future interactions.

I have an intention of beginning a program to train student leaders in different schools about the importance of proper communication skills. This program will be aimed at improving the leadership quality in the schools. In the program the students are going to be categorized into four main groups that are; Red, Yellow and Pink.  The group classified as Red will comprise of those leaders who show excellent communication skills and proficiency. Leaders classified in the yellow group are those whose skills of communication are average and those leaders classified in the pink group are those who have poor communication skills. Through the feedback of these leaders the school will be able to formulate strategies to improve the quality of leadership in the school.

The student leaders are issued with paper sheets and journals where they record all what they have learnt. They will also be expected to find information by reading various sources of information. The student leaders will then have to address all the students using a topic that will be assigned to them. There is a benefit of using role play in the training program since this will promote a better understanding and memorability.

Conclusion

Application of diagnostic tools results to improved skills of communication among individuals. The reason for the resulting communication skills is due to the diversity in methods used in technique development. The diagnostic tools enables people to realize the communication mistakes that they make and also make plans to improve on these weaknesses. Individuals can acquire crucial skills such as confidence, better understanding and aggressiveness. Practice together with role play is the commonly applied diagnostic tools of communication. These tools need to be improved with time to match the changes in the global systems of communication. 

August

September

October

November

December

January

Training student leaders in different schools

Going for extra courses on French and Chinese

Practising continuous reading of the foreign languages

References

Aebersold, M., Tschannen, D., &Sculli, G. (2013).Improving nursing students’ communication skills using crew resource management strategies.Journal of Nursing Education, 52(3), 125-130.

Beris, O., Beautement, A., &Sasse, M. A. (2015, September). Employee Rule Breakers, Excuse Makers and Security Champions:: Mapping the risk perceptions and emotions that drive security behaviors. In Proceedings of the 2015 New Security Paradigms Workshop (pp. 73-84).ACM.

Buchanan, G. M., & Seligman, M. (2013).Explanatory style.Routledge.

Burleson, B. R., & Denton, W. H. (2014). The Association Between Spousal Initiator Tendency and Partner Marital Satisfaction: Some Moderating Effects of Supportive Communication Values. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 42(2), 141-152.

De Castro, E. L., Prenda, M. T. B., Dolot, J. A., Laguador, J. M., &Dotong, C. I. (2016). Employers’ Feedback on the Job Performance of Computer Engineering Graduates in an Asian Academic Institution.Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Arts and Sciences, 3(3).

Eijzenga, W., Aaronson, N. K., Kluijt, I., Sidharta, G. N., Hahn, D. E., Ausems, M. G., &Bleiker, E. M. (2014). The efficacy of a standardized questionnaire in facilitating personalized communication about problems encountered in cancer genetic counseling: design of a randomized controlled trial. BMC cancer, 14(1), 26.

Farin, E., Schmidt, E., & Gramm, L. (2014). Patient communication competence: development of a German questionnaire and correlates of competent patient behavior. Patient education and counseling, 94(3), 342-350.

Greenaway, K. H., Wright, R. G., Willingham, J., Reynolds, K. J., &Haslam, S. A. (2015). Shared identity is key to effective communication. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(2), 171-182.

Huelsman, T. J., Gagnon, S. G., Kidder-Ashley, P., & Griggs, M. S. (2014). Preschool Temperament Assessment: A Quantitative Assessment of the Validity of Behavioral Style Questionnaire Data.Early Education & Development, 25(1), 71-92.

Kim, S. D. (2017). Characterization of unknown unknowns using separation principles in case study on Deepwater Horizon oil spill.Journal of Risk Research, 20(1), 151-168.

Li, M., & Mao, J. (2015).Hedonic or utilitarian?Exploring the impact of communication style alignment on user's perception of virtual health advisory services.International Journal of Information Management, 35(2), 229-243.

Livingston, G., Murray, A., Hall, A. M., Williams, G. C., McDonough, S. M., Ntoumanis, N., Taylor, I. M., ...& Lonsdale, C. (2015). Effect of a Self-Determination Theory–Based Communication Skills Training Program on Physiotherapists' Psychological Support for Their Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 96(5), 809-816

Mathews, C., Eggers, S. M., Townsend, L., Aarø, L. E., de Vries, P. J., Mason-Jones, A. J., ... &Wubs, A. (2016). Effects of PREPARE, a Multi-component, School-Based HIV and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Prevention Programme on Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviour and IPV: Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial. AIDS and Behavior, 20(9), 1821-1840.

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Reisner, S. L., Hughto, J. M. W., Pardee, D. J., Kuhns, L., Garofalo, R., &Mimiaga, M. J. (2016). LifeSkills for men (LS4M): pilot evaluation of a gender-affirmative HIV and STI prevention intervention for young adult transgender men who have sex with men. Journal of Urban Health, 93(1), 189-205.

Riley, J. B. (2015). Communication in nursing.Elsevier Health Sciences.

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Schmid, A., Leonard, N. R., Ritchie, A. S., &Gwadz, M. V. (2015). Assertive communication in condom negotiation: Insights from late adolescent couples' subjective ratings of self and partner. Journal of Adolescent Health, 57(1), 94-99

Sims, C. M. (2016). Do the big-five personality traits predict empathic listening and assertive communication?.International Journal of Listening, 1-26.

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